By Carly Perkins, Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle Medicine & Fitness Center
Water is a key component to keeping our body functioning properly. Even slight dehydration can severely impact the body’s ability to do its job. Recent studies have shown that we are better off listening to our own body rather than following the eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day rule. While for some, 64 ounces of water may be enough, others will need much more. Water requirements vary drastically from person-to-person based on state of health, activity level, climate one lives in, and any medication the individual may be on. Also, fluids are consumed through food, particularly fruits and vegetables, which can add to daily water intake.
Here are eight reasons to monitor your water intake:
1. Maintain Heart Health
Proper water intake helps maintain blood viscosity, keeping blood flowing freely, and regulating blood pressure which can reduce the risk of heart attack. A study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drank at least five glass of water per day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank two or fewer glasses of water per day.
2. Calorie Control
When trying to lose weight, one of the easiest ways to cut out excessive calories is minimizing or ditching the high calorie sugary drinks. Having water as your preferred drink of choice will decrease the number of calories you drink while also helping you feel fuller through the day which will help minimize over eating/snacking
3. Decreased Muscle Soreness/Fatigue
When muscles are dehydrated, they are not as elastic which can hinder muscle performance. Keeping muscles hydrated prior to exercise helps fight muscle fatigue during exercise. However, equally as important is muscle hydration post-exercise to reduce muscle tightness/soreness and potential cramping.
4. Maintaining Skin Complexion
Sufficient hydration aids in flushing the body of toxins. Some toxins build up in the skin and can cause clogged pores and blemishes. Also, properly hydrated skin will not feel or look as dry and is less susceptible to wrinkles.
5. Boost Your Metabolism
Studies have shown, proper hydration has the ability to boost one’s immune system by 30 percent before reaching a maximum rate. Slight dehydration can cause your metabolism to slow by three percent. Water also helps the body burn fat by removing the byproducts of fat.
6. Headache Prevention
If you are prone to headaches it could be in relation to your state of hydration. Studies have found that those who suffer regularly from headaches found relief after increasing their water intakes an additional 1.5 liters (50 ounces), they experienced headaches less often and when they drank more water and the headache was less intense.
7. Improved Mental Performance
Drinking eight to 10 cups (64 to 80 ounces) of water can boost cognitive performance up to 30 percent. Improved cognitive performance can help you concentrate, stay alert, and think more quickly and critically.
8. Save Money
Water at restaurants is free and when buying bottled water, it is typically cheaper than purchasing soda, juice or coffee.